If you weren’t at Superbalist is Rocking The Daisies 2016, where were you? Fighting for the free education that was promised to you in the Freedom Charter? What, you were doing both?
If you happened to be at SxRTD2016, you’d maybe have seen a girl with a #FeesMustFall placard.
This guy did:
Stellies Rage, a Facebook page that ‘provide[s] a platform for people to voice their opinions and stories’, disagreed. And apparently doesn’t think that the two can be inclusive.
The page posted a photo of the girl holding the placard with the caption: ‘Please explain, for fifty marks, how you want fees to fall but you can afford a Daisies ticket?’
And judging by the many shares their post got, neither do a lot of other people.
For argument’s sake look at this article as directed at the 1,400 people who shared this post, as well as the average white student opposing the FMF movement (because it is). When I say ‘you’, that is who I am referring to.
Let’s start you off with 50 marks, giving you the benefit of the doubt. 50 marks means you have a positive attitude towards actively bettering your country. And you must want to, or why would you complain so much?
When asking a student who is against the movement, why exactly they would oppose free tertiary education for less financially advantaged peoples, you may often hear one or all, of these: (a) I’m also broke, but I have to pay fees. (b) It’s not that I don’t support free education, I just don’t support how it’s being done.(c) I (my parents) worked hard. So must other people.
-5 points if you’ve ever said either
I digress. The Stellies Rage post got me thinking about the irony of the caption, and of the mentality towards the movement by majority white students.. The caption in itself displays a clear misunderstanding of the movement. It says something of the level of social responsibility these students and bystanders have taken upon themselves to stand in solidarity for change (instead of passively tweeting that they ‘don’t see colour’ or that ‘we’re all human’). Predictably, that level of responsibility (read: accountability) is none. Zero. Nada. Fokol.
See the thing about this caption is:
It assumes the girl with the card is protesting because she cannot afford university. At the very basis of this caption there is the assumption that the person waving it is entitled- someone who can clearly afford a R995 RTD ticket, but not an 8% fee increase. This belittles the plight of people who really cannot afford either.
It demises the whole movement to an assumption that everyone who protests is really just too lazy to (d) work to afford fees (e) think that they deserve free education more than you, hardworking folk, do.
Which one resounded most with you? Either? Eish, doesn’t look good…
It assumes that to fight for free education, you must be poor yourself, otherwise why are you? This mentality perpetuates this idea that being poor is a choice. That it is someone’s fault. Therefore the responsibility to change their circumstance lies solely on their shoulders. You’ll hear this idea repeated when an old woman shouts at a homeless person trying to sell a Funny Money pamphlet, to (f)‘get a job’. (Auw but ma’am, this is a job…). You’ll hear it when someone brings up BEE around a boy from Bishops (sounding eerily like their dad), (g) ‘My parents worked hard for their money, anyone can change their circumstances, they just have to stop being lazy.’
(h) Poverty is the poor’s fault, and it is their responsibility, right?
– 5 points if you’ve ever said/thought either
No. Poverty is a global issue, it is not just the individual/group’s issue. This is because poverty does not just affect the poor, it affects you and I. And I don’t mean that feeling of guilt or sadness that sometimes creeps through the cracks in your car window when you see a barely clothed homeless person in rain and tell him ‘no, you don’t have any change’. I mean the effects of poverty ripple, and have repercussions.
A simple example is economically. The less people participating in the economy, the more those who earn an income have to pay to make up for the lack of taxpayers compared to the population. Low levels of employment mean a weak economy. Basic economics: the less spending, the less money coming in. This affects everything from infrastructure to government provided health services and service delivery.
-10 marks if you thought #FeesMustFall is only for the poor/if you think poverty is not your problem.
How do you solve unemployment? You educate. Because low levels of education equals low employment rates. But what happens when the already economically disadvantaged are forced to not only fight against the preset obstacles of poverty by working for less than R12 an hour, to put their kids through school (and um, survive) but now also have to ensure their kids can compete in an already struggling job market?
Well, fuck, they have to go to university, to be qualified for the jobs that white people love to (i) highlight how unqualified black people are to have.
-5 points if you’ve ever assumed a black person in a high position is not qualified enough to hold it
Guess what though? They don’t get cut slack for it. They pay what you do. They struggle. And their children watch this, and they think ‘Fuck that. I need a little help. My mom/granny/father/sister need a little help.’ They protest, they protest to be able to compete competently in the economy. They protest for a stronger economy.
And they do this while you make snide remarks behind your computer screen and tell them how they can do it better.
So now you’re done. I hope you passed. Or at the very least will think a bit harder next time you see this sign.
Feature image via Instagram/cyarianna